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Joe Biden Denies 1994 Crime Bill Increased Incarceration Rates

Joe Biden

The former vice president doubled down on his crime legacy at the LGBTQ Presidential Forum.

Joe Biden denied that the 1994 crime bill he supported fueled mass incarceration.

The former vice president told a moderator at the LGBTQ Presidential Forum Friday that she was "wrong" in her assertion that the controversial legislation "increased incarceration rates and promoted more aggressive policing policies and tactics."

"Let's get something straight," Biden said. You're wrong about the act. That act was overwhelmingly supported by the African-American community, overwhelmingly supported by the community at large. Everyone from Ted Kennedy on voted for it. It did not have mandatory life sentences in it. That wasn't what it was about."

When the moderator, The Gazette's Lyz Lenz, told Biden that his denial of increased incarceration was fact-checked by PolitiFact, Biden doubled down. "No, it didn't. It was not in the crime bill. What was in the crime bill was more money for state-prison building, which I opposed," he responded.

In reality, PolitiFact ruled that Biden's assertion that 1994 crime bill "did not generate mass incarceration" was "half true."

"In the strictest sense, the law did not launch the massive rise in the prison population," the fact-checking source concluded. "But it was in keeping with pre-existing trends at the state level, and in a limited way, provided funds to expand and keep policies in place that would increase the number of people behind bars."

"At the same time, the crime bill funded other programs and made changes aimed at keeping people out of prison," the source added.

The LGBTQ Forum, co-hosted by GLAAD, One Iowa, The Gazette, and The Advocate, features a discussion of LGBTQ issues with Biden, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, former Pennsylvania representative Joe Sestak, U.S Senator Elizabeth Warren, and author Marianne Williamson.

Click here to watch the historic LGBTQ Presidential Forum.

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